Breathwork is an umbrella term for various New Age practices in which the conscious control of breathing is meant to influence mental, emotional and physical state – sometimes to claimed therapeutic effect.
Breathwork can cause distress and has no proven positive health impact other than perhaps promoting relaxation.
There are many types of breathwork which have emerged over the last few decades, including integrative breathwork, transformational breathwork, shamanic breathwork, conscious connected breathing, radiance breathwork, Zen yoga breathwork and many others.
Older non-Western techniques such as yoga, pranayama, t'ai chi and qigong are also offered as systems where the breath is used to direct and enhance the body's energy and aid in the release of old emotions. Similarly, the many schools and teachers of mindfulness are also using breathing techniques that can date back to and beyond the time of the Buddha.
Breathwork has no verified beneficial effect on health, although there is some evidence it may help relaxation; some people, however, find its effects distressing.
- Gay Hendricks, developer of radiance breathwork
- Pre- and perinatal psychology
- Psychedelic psychotherapy
- Young JS, Cashwell CS, Giordano AL (2010). "Breathwork as a therapeutic modality: an overview for counselors". Counseling and Values. 55 (1): 113. doi:10.1002/j.2161-007X.2010.tb00025.x.
- Ades TB, ed. (2009). "Breathwork". American Cancer Society Complete Guide to Complementary and Alternative Cancer Therapies (2nd ed.). American Cancer Society. pp. 72–74. ISBN 9780944235713.